SHANGHAI (AP) — Ian Poulter temporarily stopped a slide that had him pointed in a direction he has not been in nearly a decade.
He has not been out of the top 50 in the world since Sept. 10, 2006.
Poulter lost ground on the leaders with a 72-71 weekend in the HSBC Champions, though it still was good enough to tie for sixth. That allowed him to move up four spots in the world ranking to No. 40 going into the Turkish Airlines Open this week.
Even so, it was only his third top-10 finish of the year. He tied for fifth in the China Open and tied for sixth in the St. Jude Classic. And while his chip-in on the 15th hole in the Ryder Cup was the turning point in earning a halve with Rory McIlroy in fourballs, it was his first Ryder Cup without winning a match (0-1-2).
And, yes, he’s aware of all this.
“I’ve had three injuries this year and I’m angry,” Poulter said last week. “I’m angry at the position I’ve put myself in. I’m annoyed that I wasn’t able to take the time off I needed playing two schedules.”
The upside is that he is happy with his switch to Titleist clubs, he feels fit and he is “fresh in the mind.”
Poulter made news for reasons he wasn’t expecting when he published his book, “No Limits,” and excerpts led to former PGA of America President Ted Bishop referring to him as a “Lil Girl” for his candid comments about Nick Faldo and Tom Watson. Bishop wound up losing his job.
“The book wasn’t a distraction,” Poulter said. “It was just an unfortunate circumstance, which was stressful.”
Poulter plans to do a formal launch in London after the European Tour season ends in Dubai. But there won’t be much of an offseason. Depending on how he fares the next two weeks, Poulter said he might start his season in Hawaii at the Sony Open, which he hasn’t played in 10 years.
MEDAL OF FREEDOM: Charlie Sifford spent a lifetime breaking color barriers in golf. His next stop is a place he never would have imagined. Sifford is going to the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
The first black member of the PGA Tour was among 19 people chosen to receive the highest honor granted to U.S. civilians. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are the only other golfers so honored. The ceremony is Nov. 24.
Sifford, 92, broke through the Caucasian-only clause on the PGA, which was rescinded in 1961 when he became the first black on tour. Sifford won twice on the PGA Tour. He also won the 1975 Senior PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods congratulated him with a tweet Monday night that said, “You’re the grandpa I never had. Your past sacrifices allow me to play golf today. I’m so happy for you Charlie.”
Sifford became the first black inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004. He said during his induction that he only had five goals in golf — to become a PGA member, win a PGA event, playing in the U.S. Open, play in the Masters and get inducted into the Hall of Fame. He never made it to the Masters, which did not start inviting PGA Tour winners until a few years after his victories in the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and 1969 Los Angeles Open.
President Barack Obama saluted the President Medal of Freedom honorees as citizens who have made “extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.”
ISLAND MAN: Justin Rose of England has returned to living under the realm of Queen Elizabeth II.
Only the weather is a lot nicer.
Rose has moved his family from Florida to the Bahamas, where he has owned property at Albany the last few years. They moved right after the British Open and have made that their permanent residence. At least for now.
“We’re having a great time,” Rose said. “We had a place there for two or three years, and obviously over time we developed a lot of friendships. With the facilities they’ve created for us, I have the opportunity to practice and be the best player I want to be and spend time with my family. There are a few more natural hobbies than I had in Orlando, fun things to do to get away from golf. I thought it would be good to have a nice, healthy place to be and spend time with the kids.”
His oldest child, Leo, has already started kindergarten.
How long this lasts is still to be determined. Rose said he has not sold his home at Lake Nona until he is certain this is the right move.
“We’ve taken a leap of faith, but we’re not all in. We’re kind of hedging,” he said.
Rose said travel is not an issue. He flies private about 80 percent of the time, and there are enough direct flights out of the Bahamas to the right cities to make travel easy.
And he won’t have to travel far to play in the Hero World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts. Woods also has a place in Albany, and his December tournament is expected to move there in 2015.
“Are you kidding? It’s right on my door step,” Rose said. “Sign me up now.”
OCHOA’S TIME: Perhaps one of the few good things that came out of the World Hall of Fame revamping its process is that it clears a path for Lorena Ochoa.
The Mexican star stunned the golf world in April 2010 when she announced her retirement at age 28. Ochoa had more than the required 27 points to qualify for the Hall of Fame, but she was lacking the minimum 10 years on the LPGA Tour. Ochoa walked away from golf after eight years.
Now that’s no longer necessary.
Under the new criteria, female candidates must be at least 40 years old at the start of the year she is elected or at least five years removed from the game.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said in an email that Ochoa will be eligible for the 2017 class.
Then it would be up to a subcommittee to nominate her, and for 12 of the 16 people on the selection committee to vote for her.